From Kubo sama's interview: Arrancar, Visored, Namings
Q: Around what time did you come up with the Arrancar arc?
A: I really don't remember (laugh).
Q: In the story, just when Ichigo obtained bankai, we learn that Aizen is the mastermind of all this. Then, the Hougyoku got removed from within Rukia. So you thought that the next series would have Aizen as a foe?
A: I think so. While drawing the final stages of the Soul Society arc, I felt that Aizen wouldn't die here. From that point, I've imagined a story that will unfold in the world of the hollows.
Q: In the early stages of the story, during the times Ichigo defeated Grand Fisher, an arrancar appeared during its medical treatment. During that time, were you simply drawing what represented the world of hollows?
A: Yes, the world of hollows. There were no establishments for arrancars. Just that during that medical treatment, the line "remove the mask" was spoken and I've depicted it as such literally. While drawing/writing the manuscript, I've remembered it and I've thought of doing a battle between a "hollow that removed its mask" and a "shinigami that put on a mask".
Q: Did the Vizards born from that?
A: Yes. And very timely, Ichigo put on a mask and hollowfied, I thought that it would be interesting if it will be a battle with both parties trying to destroy the fence of the other party. I wanted to create a company that was in the same position as Ichigo.
Q: Was the appearance of Hirako as a Vizard naturally come up during the battle of the arrancars in the world of hollows?
A: No, I have always thought of introducing Hirako to the point I've drawn him in the color spread of chapter 1. Just that, I haven't decided on his role yet. Then, while thinking of the next series (arc) I thought "oh, I think it's good to make him appear here". Moreover, I was very hooked on the imagery of the next arc, that's why I was able to decide that the role of Hirako be a Vizard.
Q: Don't tell me, you've also thought of ... from way before...
A: Originally, during the time I started drawing Bleach, I've resolved Orihime's story [Sora chapters], next was Sado's story [Parakeet]. In fact, I was planning on resolving the stories of the classmates first before moving to the next story. That's why I drew every classmate in the spread. From it, I've imagined Hirako to be the new transfer student-ish role that will come in along the way.
Q: Were there no possibilities of him appearing as a shinigami?
A: I didn't have the shinigami image (on him). From the start, he was to be a member of the Real World team. It's just that, originally I had an image of him being a new transfer student, or like the outsider type. Hirako's character's personality, (I've put) his personality into how he speaks. But then I didn't get to find any significance so..
[Hikaro speaks Osaka dialect which is not the normal nor formal Japanese; it's like a slang]
Q: How did the organization called Espada come to be?
A: More than wanting a certain number of members, I wanted a corps that was directly under the command of Aizen. So, I thought of how many people would the group comprise. I wanted a name for it so I looked for a Spanish word, and came across "espada" which meant "sword". If it were to become 10 sets of swords, I also had an image of the fact that every Shinigami also wield swords, so I've decided on that.
Q: Which character did you decide on first?
A: I think it was definitely Ulquiorra. The first time that Ulquiorra appeared, the establishment of an "Espada" wasn't made yet. The reason I made the number of Espada "10", and the the word "Espada" into kanji, like Soul Society, I wanted to make the character (the word) fit for the kanji. The character "10 (kanji)" for me was the most western-ish character, and it felt like the Cross. I had kind of image in my head so it can be put into comparison with the Shinigami, that's why I made it to 10 people. But the first time I drew, I only had the image of Yammi and Ulquiorra in my head. Even during the time he stood in front of Aizen in Hueco Mundo, I've only made them (the other espada) into shadows to shade them off.
[Jyuu (ten) in Japanese is written as 十]
Q: From there you were able to establish how many people there will be?
A: In reality, I was only supposed to limit it to the people that were there in that scene, but I felt like it was too small a scale.
Q: Was the concept of "Espada", the symbolism, the number already decided?
A: I haven't decided on their ranks yet. I was so undecided to the point of interchanging Zommari and Hallibel's numbers till the last minute, halfway through the story.
Q: For Sensei, I know every character is obviously strong, but is it in a rival leaders (warlords) sense? [LOL, don't know how else to phrase this D8]
A: In sense/imagery, more than fighting over control, everyone has their own ambition, there's also this image of it being replaced. Like Luppi.
Q: We do not know where Zommari's rank number is located. What about it?
A: I didn't think about it (laugh). I only think about it when the character will show his/her rank number (laugh)
Q: "Like the part where Ulquiorra showed his rank number?"
A: "I was thinking of the best place to put (the rank number) according to the scene, and if that place is right for that character. I've imagined it according to the last part of volume 27's poem: "The 5th lies in where the heart is" <- this part, and the fact that Ulquiorra's number is in where his heart is. Though I have forgotten on which I decided on first.
Q: Nnoitora has his on his tongue.
A: In reality, I think of a place where you feel "it has to be here (no where else)". For the arrancars, it's a big deal to be able to receive numbers.
Q: If it's for a shinigami, it's like being a captain, or a vice captain, am I right? Speaking of shinigami, Isshin appeared in shinigami form. I remember being shocked from that.
A: I can't say anything detailed (laugh).
Q: That kind of suggestive line and sight, is it because you are thinking of drawing him after this?
A: Yes. To draw or not to draw. Some foreshadowing lines and such, will for sure be tied together one day. That is, closer to "coming around (the idea)", and "remembering it" than "thinking of it". In the beginning, I myself do not know the reason but "this is best for this", "there's nothing but this", those thoughts run through my head and (I) decide on drawing that for the character. If I do that, while drawing the following [next/future] story, I'll definitely come across that scene thinking "was this thing I drew from that time for this?". That is similar to the feeling of "remembering something about a person you knew from the start" or "discovering a new side/angle of a person you just met". That's why in the TBTP arc, for example, Hisagi's "69", which is that of Muguruma 9th squad. (Muguruma's spelled with a 6-> muttsu's MU)
Q: You don't normally put "69" right?
A: Right. At first, my intention was that to make it a questionable number (laugh). It has a meaning but I thought to make it a word a kid won't ask his/her parents about, so I made it "69" (laugh). His first appearance, when Jidanbou came out, Hisagi and Izuru were behind (the wall), during that time there were no depictions that they were vice captains. After that, at the time the vice captains came together, it's the first time it became clear (laugh). If it's only from that, you won't know he's a vice captain but he was. Then, they are 3rd squad's and 9th squad's vice captains. Then, the 3rd squad's and 9th squad's captains were Aizen's subordinates. That's why the 3rd squad and the 9th squad were headed that way.
A: That's how it is connected.
Spanish and the Names's Origin.
Q: Spanish frequently comes up but is it to contrast them from the Shinigami?
A: During the the time the Menos Grade came out, I was thinking I wanted to use a language that had a good meaning yet sounds bad/evil. If it's evil, Indian sounds evil, but I had an image of something that sounded very cool and cool-headed. Similarly, Spanish has this devil-ish, and sexy sounding and a dark* sound to it which I liked, that's why I have chosen Spanish. [*don't know the right word]
Q: Did you first decide on the names of the attacks in Japanese, or did it first occur to you in Spanish?
A: The names of the attacks in Resureccion form are mixed up. It's like vaguely deciding on an image. For Nnoitora, it was decided quickly. I had a image of a praying mantis. It was whether a snake or a praying mantis. I was tie-dyeing on both, so I looked it up in the dictionary and chose which sounded better.
Q: So you decide on an image on the character's outward appearance?
A: More than from the outward appearance, it's while thinking of the outward appearance along with the personality, and more than anything else it's whether there will be an appeal to it. And there're also some things I take from the 7 deadly sins. Like the one now, who are the espadas? Barragan, Aroniero's "Gluttoneria", Zael Apollo's "Fornicaras", and the same applies for Yammi. Those are the early days of "Espada". In the early stages of Espada, there were only 7 people. It's "Espada" with 7 swords but, it increased gradually and became the "Espada" of now. That's why there are some more of the 7 sins I haven't used. While drawing Aaroniero, he had the power "to eat" so I've got the "Gluttony" from the 7 deadly sins. But I also didn't want to just get stuck with the 7 sins. That's why there are times I don't use them on purpose and leave them be. Like for the early days Espada that survived (laugh).
Q: That's nice.
A: Maybe they were pushed aside. Maybe they disappeared/died by themselves. That kind of story.
Q: So it's like you're not limiting the names of the characters to Spanish.
A: That, I'm getting everything from designers. Designer or architect or an interior designer. Wonderweiss was from a designer named Maricel Wanders. From that I've reversed and made sort of an parody out of.
Q: Everyone? Like Jaggerjack?
A: That one I've put on conveniently. "Jagger" is a peculiar spelling isn't it? I've named it according to a clock named "Jaeger-LeCoultre". Originally, "Grimmjow" was from an architect named "Nicholas Grimshaw". "Grimshaw" sounded cool, so I used that. But Nicholas didn't come out nicely so (laugh). Then, I've made it into "Grimmjow" that sounds nicely and fit the spelling into it.
Q: Also Stark?
A: Stark is from "Stark" Philip Stark. There's also one for Ulquiorra. It's from a woman named "Patricia Ulquiorra".
Q: For the Real World team, "Kurosaki" and "Ishida" and the likes are familiar surnames.
A: Yes. For the Real World members, I thought to make them a common name. But as much as possible, I thought (of their names) while thinking I wanted them to make an impact. Mostly it was based on sound and the design but I thought it would be nice if the somewhere in the sound would get people hooked. Like Ichigo whose name is weird for a guy. And the "hime" in Orihime would have us asking "What/Hmm?". In Sado, the "tora" in Yasutora. Lastly, as much as possible, I wanted as many strokes in the Kanji as possible (laugh). It's a matter of design when I put the kanji together.
Q: I'll return to the story, when Ryuuken saw Isshin's Shinigami attire and said "So it came back", I was thinking that it meant they knew each other from the past. So if Isshin is a shinigami, it means that he once was in Soul Society, right?
A: That's right.
Q: In reality, Quincy and Shinigami hate each other but, they are surprisingly friends. Will that be clear in the future?
A: That part, it's still a secret (laugh).
Q: I'm looking forward to that. Is the Past Chapter over with that? (TBTP)
A: I want to draw about the stories that happened around the Past Chapters (TBTP). Because I've finally introduced the Lieutenants and stuff.
Q: Like how Oomaeda's father wasn't able to make it to Captain class? (laugh)
A: I think so (laugh), if I get the opportunity, I want to draw about it.
Q: Can Sasakibe ever become a captain?
A: As long as Genryuusai lives, I don't think he can be one (laugh).